Alternative Sunday School Lessons

Why didn’t anyone tell me – about the eye of the needle?

June 29, 2016
Why didn’t anyone tell me – about the eye of the needle?

22. When the young man heard this, he went away in sorrow, because he had great wealth. 23. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through […]

Posted in Alternative Sunday School Lessons, New Testament Sunday School Lessons, Pride | 28 Comments »

Origen & the Pre-Existence, Coats of Skins

June 27, 2016
Origen & the Pre-Existence, Coats of Skins

I was listening to a great Maxwell Institute podcast in which Blair Hodges interviews Peter Martens. Among other topics, Martens briefly discussed early church father Origen who was denounced postumously for his heretical views, some of which, although they may have been anathema to Catholics, are particularly of interest to Mormons. Origen was an early Christian scholar […]

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Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Christian, Church Policy, Criticism, Culture, Doctrine, doubt, Excommunication, Faith, faith crisis, Feminism, Freedom, gender equity, LDS, leadership, Mental Health, Modesty, Morality, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, Old Testament Sunday School Lessons, Premortality, Religion, Spirituality, Temple, theology, Tradition, Women | 16 Comments »

Why didn’t someone tell me — Just what “eternity” means

June 2, 2016
Why didn’t someone tell me — Just what “eternity” means

A dear friend of mine died last year.  As she aged she reflected that while it used to be that waiting for Christmas seemed like years — and the wait was 25% of her life, it now seemed like it came once a week (or about 1.25% of her life).  The conversation was interesting because […]

Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Culture, History, Mormon Culture, Premortality, Technology, Uncategorized, understanding | 13 Comments »

Truth or Fiction? Mary and Joseph Taught Jesus

May 22, 2016
Truth or Fiction?  Mary and Joseph Taught Jesus

It was high council Sunday today in our ward.  One of the high councilors, a former bishop, stated that Joseph and Mary taught Jesus of his divinity while he was growing up.  Other than the story of Jesus in the temple at age 12, and the stories of his birth, there is nothing told in […]

Posted in Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Christian, Faith, Jesus, Mormon, Mormon Belief | 13 Comments »

Canaanite Dieties

March 21, 2016
Canaanite Dieties

It’s Easter time again (next Sunday is Easter if you weren’t paying attention.)  Easter is that one holiday that Mormons observe, but don’t really celebrate.  With Easter comes the story of the Passover.  (This is one of those strange years in which Easter occurs a month BEFORE Passover.)  In the past, I’ve blogged about various […]

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Posted in Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Christian, Faith, History, Israel, Jewish Studies, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Religion, scriptures, theology | 23 Comments »

Does God Agree With Your Politics?

March 16, 2016
Does God Agree With Your Politics?

My opinion is not a popular one, especially among Mormons. It’s based on one of my foundational beliefs that I still maintain from my days as a centrist: both sides of our political divide are founded on sound principles that are imperfectly applied – because we’re humans. (Just like I believe our Church organization is […]

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Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, America, economics, Freedom, History, money, Mormon Discussion, Politics | 20 Comments »

Fall Down

January 27, 2016
Fall Down

Yesterday Elder Bednar spoke at the BYUI devotional in Rexburg about how the Lord teaches through repetition. He gave the example of Moroni’s visitations to Joseph Smith and how essentially he gave Joseph the same message every time, but also each time it was given something was just a little different, and by paying attention […]

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Posted in Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Book of Mormon, scriptures, Sunday School | 9 Comments »

If Jane Austen Wrote the Book of Mormon

January 26, 2016
If Jane Austen Wrote the Book of Mormon

I was considering a post on the Book of Mormon & the Bechdel test when it occurred to me that Gospel Doctrine class is kind of like a book club.[1]  Which got me thinking how much better, and perhaps with more vocal women in it (as well as a few more humorously identified human foibles), […]

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Posted in Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Book of Mormon, Christian, Culture, Education, emotions, Empathy, Feminism, gender equity, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, Patriarchy, Religion, Sunday School, Women | 6 Comments »

God Is Love

January 5, 2016
God Is Love

The last time I substitute taught Gospel Doctrine, I got to teach John’s epistles that he wrote to the believers in his soon-to-disband Johannine community while he was living in Ephesus.  His community was divided, something we are also experiencing within our Mormon congregations in the wake of the policy change toward homosexuals and their […]

Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Anti-Mormon, Apostasy, Buddhism, Charity, Christian, Church Policy, Criticism, Culture, doubt, emotions, Faith, Freedom, Jesus, LDS, leadership, LGBT, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, New Testament Sunday School Lessons, Religion | 9 Comments »

Prophets < Apostles?

December 29, 2015
Prophets < Apostles?

Which is a bigger deal?  Being a prophet or being an apostle?  If you’re like me, you would probably assume that the title “prophet” is higher than “apostle,” but I recently read some interesting information on the history. I was curious to know when we started to call the quorum of the twelve “prophets, seers, […]

Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Anti-Mormon, Apostasy, Blind Obedience, Christian, Church Policy, Criticism, Culture, Doctrine, doubt, Excommunication, Faith, faith crisis, Freedom, History, LDS, leadership, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, Prophet, theology | 67 Comments »

Why didn’t anyone tell me – about Aaron and Abraham?

December 5, 2015
Why didn’t anyone tell me – about Aaron and Abraham?

Too often we think of Aaron and Abraham and others through a modern lens. I still remember someone asking what it must have been like to be Abraham’s home teaching companion.   I thought about this when someone asked me about this ditty that has been going around: Aaron was a prophet, built a golden […]

Posted in Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Doctrine, Holy Land, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, Old Testament Sunday School Lessons, Patriarchy, Polygamy, Prophet, theology, Topical Guide, Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Two Hour Block? Hallelujah! Oh Wait, Nevermind.

December 1, 2015
Two Hour Block?  Hallelujah!  Oh Wait, Nevermind.

Rumor was that a stake in Boston announced they would begin piloting a new two-hour block schedule in the coming year.  Throw in coffee & donuts, and allow for shorts, and we might be able to compete with all the surrounding megachurches in my community! There will be an “elimination of all but essential Sunday meetings, i.e. […]

Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Church Policy, Culture, Doctrine, Freedom, LDS, leadership, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, New Testament Sunday School Lessons | 47 Comments »

Texts Before Sects

November 24, 2015
Texts Before Sects

As I’ve taught various classes at church, I’ve been struck by the similarities between frustrations expressed by teachers in using the church-approved materials with the frustrations of the Protestant reformers 500 years ago. One of the fundamental questions of the Protestant reformation was who should be reading and interpreting scripture:  the clergy or the congregation.  In Catholicism, the mass […]

Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Christian, Church Policy, Culture, Doctrine, Faith, General Conference, LDS, leadership, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, New Testament Sunday School Lessons, Old Testament Sunday School Lessons, scriptures, seminary | 19 Comments »

Adam, Eve, Garments and Equality

September 22, 2015
Adam, Eve, Garments and Equality

I read a fantastic article yesterday from Rabbi Sacks that made me wish our own Gospel Doctrine lessons were this thoughtful.  I suppose we get what we pay for (and at our rates it’s even a bargain).  Still, we don’t have the excellent mix of thoughtfulness and scholarship that is the hallmark of Jewish scriptural debate […]

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Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Charity, Christian, Criticism, Culture, Doctrine, emotions, Empathy, Feminism, LDS, Morality, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, Old Testament Sunday School Lessons, Patriarchy, Religion, Sunday School, theology, Women | 18 Comments »

Weak Gospel Teaching

September 4, 2015
Weak Gospel Teaching

In light of the blog posts of this week discussing Elder Bednar’s statement that the rupture in the cycle between baptism and endowment is “first, foremost and most powerful is, weak Gospel teaching and modeling in the home.” This upset a lot of people. But, it got me wondering, just what is weak Gospel teaching […]

Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Apostasy, Blind Obedience, Charity, Christian, Church Policy, Criticism, Culture, Doctrine, Education, Faith, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, Sunday School, Uncategorized | 24 Comments »

Blaming Parents vs. Mourning with Those Who Mourn

August 31, 2015
Blaming Parents vs. Mourning with Those Who Mourn

Today’s guest post is from Jon G. Like many of you, the fifth Sunday lesson in my ward was on Sabbath day stuff. That’s fine, and it troubles me not at all. In fact, I think that it would be of great benefit to make our Sabbath worship more meaningful. However, we watched a clip […]

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Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Charity, Christian, Criticism, Culture, doubt, emotions, Empathy, Faith, faith crisis, Freedom, LDS, Mental Health, Mission, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, Politics, Religion, understanding | 106 Comments »

Unclean & Common

August 18, 2015
Unclean & Common

Would you eat a cherry that was in a bowl of cockroaches?  Would you eat a cherry if there was one cockroach in the bowl?  How much impurity is too much?  I had a boss years ago who would never eat anything at a potluck dinner because of her fear of food contamination. When we […]

Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, America, Charity, Christian, Church Policy, Criticism, Culture, Doctrine, doubt, emotions, Empathy, Feminism, Freedom, gender equity, LDS, leadership, LGBT, Mission, Modesty, Morality, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion, New Testament Sunday School Lessons, Politics, Pride, scriptures, theology | 22 Comments »

9 ProTips from Richard Bushman

July 21, 2015
9 ProTips from Richard Bushman

From a recent reddit forum with Mormon historian Richard Bushman, I extracted 9 tips for those who are concerned about church history and how to deal with sticky issues. On what to do when confronted with history that doesn’t match the church’s story. Question:  There are many people with a fraction of your knowledge of church […]

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Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Church Policy, Criticism, Culture, Education, emotions, Empathy, Faith, faith crisis, Joseph Smith, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Mormon Discussion | 98 Comments »

Atheist Finds Garden of Eden

July 13, 2015
Atheist Finds Garden of Eden

Where is the Garden of Eden?  I watched a really interesting documentary, part of the Myth Hunters series found on Netflix, Youtube, and CafeMom.  They noted that the garden story is so vague that it could be anywhere.  The film notes that a Boston University president felt is was in North Pole, Mormons felt it […]

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Posted in Agency, Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Christian, Faith, History, Holy Land, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Reviews, Science and Religion, theology | 16 Comments »

Topical Guide: Accursed

June 28, 2015
Topical Guide:  Accursed

I’ve been going through the Topical Guide looking for unusual meanings.  (See my posts on Abominable and Abhor.)  I came across an interesting verse, Romans 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Paul wishes he were accursed from Christ?  What does that […]

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Posted in Alternative Sunday School Lessons, Mormon, New Testament Sunday School Lessons, scriptures, theology, Topical Guide | 5 Comments »

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